Hiring Professionals

Hiring Professionals

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Like most things, you cannot make it alone. You will likely have to turn to others for their knowledge and expertise. You may benefit by consulting professionals like attorneys, accountants, managers, and agents.
 

Managers and Agents

A manager is the person who advises you or your band in every aspect of your career from what you wear on stage to choosing a producer. On the other hand, agents in the music business seek out and negotiate agreements for your live appearances.

Managers serve a variety of functions. They direct, advise, counsel, and develop your career. The managerial role is often considered the most important member of a band's professional team. It can also be the most frustrating, particularly when your career is not progressing as you would like and you feel locked in for a long term with the wrong manager.

- Fees vary, but usually paid on commission.
- Verbal deals with managers can be an invitation for trouble.
- You should have a written agreement with your manager which covers the manager's responsibilities, term, compensation, and authority on behalf of the artist or band.

Agents get you signed for live appearances. In short, they are the ones in charge of getting gigs that you can't get by yourself.

- If the agent has too many clients, you may not get the attention you need.
- Payment is usually based on gigs booked.
- Agents should not get a portion of your income from record sales or publishing.
 

Attorneys

Entertainment attorneys can:
- Draft band partnership agreements.
- Find a record or publishing deal if you are unsigned by shopping your demo tape (most record companies only accept unsolicited material from established entertainment attorneys).
- Negotiate deals for your services.
- Negotiate merchandising deals.
- Make sure you understand all the deals negotiated on your behalf.
- Help find a personal manager, booking agent, and/or business manager.
- Locate copyright owners.
- Draft licensing agreements.
- Help you get out of bad deals.
- Offer advice on your legal problems by telling you what to do or not to do.
- May be able to settle disputes for you out of court, saving you trouble and expense.
- Represent you in the civil courts.
- Render innumerable other services because of training and experience in the law.
 

The best time to consult with a lawyer is before, not after, you have a legal problem. Look for:
- Experience in the entertainment industry.
- Excellent reputation; references from other musicians.
- Fees (hourly, flat rates, retainer).
- Someone that understands your goals and who will help you achieve them.

Accountants

If your band is making money you may want to consult with an accountant. They can help set up a simple bookkeeping system and prepare your tax return. Before you hire someone else to prepare your taxes or assist with other financial matters, ask the following questions
- Are you a CPA (certified public accountant)?
- Are you familiar with the music business?
- What is your fee structure (hourly, by number of forms completed, or fixed price)? Beware of accountants who base their fees on a percentage of your refund or those who guarantee a refund or refuse to sign your return.
- What is your billing procedure?
- Who will be preparing my return?
- By what date will my return be completed?
- Will you reimburse me for mistakes that result in penalties or interest charges?
- If my return is audited, will you represent me before the IRS?

Most importantly, as in choosing all professionals, choose someone with whom you feel comfortable.

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